No, my son didn't hijack my computer and write that headline, it's true, according to researchers. A new study says that, with the exception of the last couple of years of high school, homework provides few, if any, benefits to students; it may even impede their learning.
So all of that time I spend trying to coerce my second grader to sit down and complete his assignments, and all the breath I expend trying to explain why homework is so important to his future is all a big waste? Yes, say Australian researchers who included 10,000 children in their study. They concluded that children could be better served spending that homework time doing something else more beneficial. They even went so far as to say that only students in senior high should do homework.
"There are other things kids want to do that are very valuable things for them to be doing," researcher Dr. Richard Walker told The Daily Telegraph. As CNN pointed out, you may want to hide this article from your children.
The theory with homework has usually been that children need time for self-directed learning -- an important skill for sure. Only very children in grade school and middle school self direct themselves when they do homework. Instead parents are usually sitting there right beside them, assisting and teaching them as well. I didn't believe this before my son started school and actually scoffed when people told me how much of my time his homework would take, but it's true. He's an excellent student, but his homework still requires me most nights. So if it's not self-directed learning they're acquiring, then why make them (and us) sit there?
I think there will always be some projects that are better done at home -- perhaps things like book reports or other research-based projects. But the daily worksheets and other regular activities could seemingly be worked better into the school day so that their time after school could be better spent on physical activity, reading for pleasure, and just plain old kid fun, which so many seem to have little time for today.
With American education falling so far behind much of the rest of the world, it's hard to argue that our students need to do less work. But as the saying goes, sometimes less is more. A good education for my children is one of my highest priorities in life, but if homework is a waste, then let's stop wasting valuable time.
Do you think homework is a waste of time?
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